Purdue Pharma, Geisinger partner to study Apple Watch, chronic pain

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Purdue Pharma and Geisinger have announced a partnership to study the effects of the Apple Watch on chronic pain.

The two companies plan to enroll 240 patients within Geisinger’s healthcare system to evaluate the wearable technology's relation to pain. Using the Apple Watch, enrolled patients will measure physical activity, pain, disability, sleep quality, depression, medication use and heart rate. Additionally, a pain app included on the Apple Watch will integrating data into a patient’s electronic medical record.

“The goal of this technology is to improve patient function and quality of life while reducing the need for analgesic medications. It provides objective measures of numerous aspects of pain, function and treatment effectiveness so that information can be gathered for the patient and the healthcare provider in between visits,” said Tracy Mayne, PhD, head of medical affairs and strategic research at Purdue Pharma. “We are pleased to partner with Geisinger on this important initiative and believe real-time data may have the potential to support an improved understanding of chronic pain patients’ experiences and needs.”

The main aim of the study will be to provide evidence of wearable technologies' possibilities in providing a comprehensive view of chronic diseases.

“We are incorporating advanced technology into the traditional healthcare setting to redirect and empower the patient to take more control of their own well-being. The proposed multi-level integrated platform will facilitate and accelerate the speed of communication between the patient and healthcare providers, thereby allowing quicker patient access to appropriate care,” said John J. Han, MD, the director of the department of pain medicine at Geisinger. “Furthermore, it is hoped providing more education as well as alternative, non-opioid treatment options and coaching to promote a long-term sustainable healthy lifestyle will improve patient function and quality of life.”